Raising Kids to Care About Missions
The Great Commission that Jesus gave in Matthew 28:18-20 is still a work in progress. According to the U.S. Center for World Mission’s Joshua Project, 2.91 billion people in the world are considered “unreached.” Unreached is defined as “a people group among which there is no indigenous community of believing Christians with adequate numbers and resources to evangelize this people group.”
People die every day not knowing the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the consequences are eternal. Pastor John Piper said, “Christians care about all suffering, especially eternal suffering.” The need for believers to go to the nations—to the ends of the world—and share the gospel is urgent.
At the recent CROSS Conference—a student missions conference in Louisville, Kentucky—evangelical leaders such as John Piper, Thabiti Anyabwile, Michael Oh, Matt Chandler, and David Platt spoke to college students about world missions. The conference was an historical event for mobilizing students to send and go, but what about kids?
How do we raise children to care about world missions? How do we lead kids to be senders or go-ers, bringing the good news about Jesus to the nations? How can we equip them to obey Christ in working to fulfill the Great Commission? The truths these speakers shared can help us better equip children to become students passionate about Christ and His gospel mission.
1. Teach kids the gospel. The gospel is the message believers are to take to the nations. The reality of our status before God apart from Christ is bad news. Unbelievers are under the wrath of God. (See Rom. 1:13-18.) This is essential gospel doctrine. Only Jesus turns away God’s wrath. (Rom. 3:25) Make sure kids know the good news about Jesus. (See Rom. 5:8-9)
Thabiti Anyabwile: “If we mitigate the harshness of God’s wrath, we will minimize the urgency of God’s mission.”
Conrad Mwebe: “Jesus purchased our redemption by suffering on the cross as a substitute for sinners to satisfy a holy God.”
2. Help kids treasure Christ. In Philippians 1:21, the apostle Paul said that to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Kids will treasure Christ when they know His greatness and love Him. Any other motivation for missions is doomed to fail. When we truly understand who Christ is and treasure Him, we can joyfully and obediently take the gospel to the nations.
Matt Chandler: “Until Christ is our treasure, any other motivation we have to suffer for him is a fool’s errand.”
Richard Chin: “To take up your cross is to consider it better to die than to live for something other than Jesus.”
3. Motivate kids with “Big God” theology. God is sovereign over the work of missions. He is our hope for success. We must reject Satan’s lie that obedience to God will make us miserable. We may have a few days of regret over earthly losses, but we will spend eternity rejoicing in God’s work.
Kevin DeYoung: “We have the impossible task of calling dead people to live. It is entirely possible for God.”
Matt Chandler: “When we join God in his plan for His global glory, we get to be a part of the cosmic take-your-kid-to-work day.”
Michael Oh: “Living for Christ does not mean you will miss out. You will gain more. More of Christ.”
For full videos and synopses from the CROSS Conference, check out the CROSS Conference resources pages.